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Marriage on the Edge of Eternity

Don’t Get It Backward

Because divorce runs so rampant even in the church, it makes sense that we tend to overcompensate by emphasizing marriage more than Scripture does. But by doing so, we may be hurting marriages rather than mending them. Couples become self-centered rather than mission-focused. Singles who once radically served Jesus now spend their days merely improving and enjoying their marriage. Either that, or they quarrel incessantly and spend their days in counseling and despair. Either way, they become virtually worthless for kingdom purposes. Can you think of any couples that serve Jesus more faithfully now that they’re married? It doesn’t have to be this way. This is why Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 7: “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35).

The goal is “undivided devotion to the Lord.” Meditate on those words. Remember that the Bible is not a book about marriage; it is a book about God. The best thing we can do with our brief lives is to devote ourselves to him and his mission. This is the goal. And marriage can actually help us achieve this goal. That’s why Paul encourages marriage for those who are tempted sexually. A healthy marriage helps to prevent temptations that would destroy our effectiveness. But remember that the goal is to be completely devoted to God. Marriage can be used as a means of improving our devotion to Jesus. Let’s not get it backward and think of him as the means of improving our marriages.

The Bible is not a book about marriage, it is a book about God. Tweet

Lisa once described our marriage as a long episode of The Amazing Race. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s a competition where a person chooses a partner and then races around the world against other couples. Her point was that she and I view our lives much like the contestants on that show. Like Paul, we see our lives on earth like a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), at as much depth as possible. There will be plenty of time to celebrate after we cross the finish line. For now, we just keep running.

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Francis Chan is a California-based pastor and author of many bestselling books including his newest, Letters to the Church (David C Cook, September 2018).